An Englishman Observes the Dumbing Down of Britain

by Neil Bamforth

Now, before I start, or, come to that before anyone starts, I have nothing personal against stupid people other than, of course, they are stupid. There are, clearly, various hues of stupidity. Some stupidity is fine whilst some is anything but fine. Also, it is, not surprisingly, a matter of opinion as to whether somebody is stupid or not. They, to begin with, will probably think they aren’t stupid or, possibly, will realize they are but be too embarrassed to admit it.

So, what is stupidity? Well, before I go on, it is impossible to establish entirely what qualifies as stupidity. For example, many Brexiteers think that the remainers are stupid, as the remainers often think Brexiteers are stupid.

The truth is, some are and some aren’t in both camps.

Trying to establish who is and isn’t stupid is pretty much impossible. It is, generally, subjective. It is, generally, a matter of opinion.

The reason I find myself asking whether the British are getting more stupid is this. ‘Mastermind’.

‘Mastermind’ is a very long-running TV show. It began, I think, around 1972 or 1973. The show is, basically, a quiz show. Unlike most quiz shows though, you have to spend two minutes answering questions on your specialist subject – which can be absolutely anything – and then two minutes and thirty seconds on general knowledge questions.

I have watched this show, on and off, since its inception. The specialist subject questions are sometimes interesting but, clearly, as the viewer, unless by coincidence you also share the contestants interest in steam trains through the ages or Chinese sociological theories since Confucius or, on one memorable occasion, the banana industry then, frankly, you might as well go and make a cup of tea until they get to general knowledge.

Now. Over the years I have found that I can answer a few of the general knowledge questions – even if the contestant cannot.

Usually, on a good night, I might manage to get maybe 4 or 5 right. More often it is 2 or 3. The number of general knowledge questions rarely gets much beyond 10 or so in the time allowed.

I have always been quite chuffed with myself if I managed to get 4 or more right. The contestants are invariably far cleverer than I am.

Tonight a new series began and I was shocked.

The specialist subjects went as expected. I didn’t have a clue. Then came the general knowledge questions.

I found I was getting more right than the contestants – apart from the chap who won the round and I was only 2 behind him.

They have ‘dumbed’ the showdown. I couldn’t believe it. They have made the general knowledge questions easier. They must have done. I haven’t suddenly become the fountain of all knowledge – that should be obvious! So how come I would have given the winner a run for his money given that I would have, hopefully, done quite well on my own specialist subject.

I am used to ‘Celebrity Mastermind’ being somewhat easier. Celebrities never seem to be overly bright at the best of times but, this was the real ‘Mastermind’. The one where the contestants are supposed to be clever. I could have won it! Ridiculous.

To be honest that seems to be the Britain of today all over.

Everything is being ‘dumbed down’ to make sure it is ‘inclusive’. Bugger inclusiveness. Would Einstein have discovered his theory of relativity is he’d had to share a classroom with Billy No Brains? Well, probably, as he was a genius.

The thing is, Britain is dumbing down to make sure the thick kids don’t get left behind.

Well, I’m sorry. The thick kids should be left behind. At least on Mastermind. If you are thick you can’t compete with the brainy people. They are cleverer than you because you are thick. Either read a book or three and learn or carry on being a thicky.

Nothing should be ‘dumbed down’ to include the thick kids. By all means try and help them not be thick but, if they are then they are.

At school, when it came to any of the science subjects or math I was thick. Primarily because I wasn’t actually interested but, ultimately, at science and math I was thick.

I was top, or near the top, of the class at art, English Language, English Literature, History and so forth. I played football for the school team. I was good at some stuff and crap at some stuff.

Should the school have ‘dumbed down’ chemistry and physics so I could keep up? No, of course not. Even if I had cared about those subjects I would have been completely and utterly a thicko.

Britain has been ‘dumbing down’ for years and it’s starting to irritate.

“Universities should accept people from all background regardless of abilities,” say some left-wing ‘let’s make everybody equal’ types. No, they shouldn’t. If some kid can’t even spell his or her own name then give them a job in a burger bar or something. They are thick and Cambridge University will eat them alive.

‘Mastermind’ is a TV institution in Blighty. Everybody knows that, unless you are very knowledgeable indeed, they won’t let you on it to compete. That’s why it’s called ‘Mastermind’.

Now, with Britain’s continued ‘dumbing down’ even I could win the bloody thing.

If that doesn’t prove Britain is ‘dumbing down’ I don’t know what does.

Incidentally, my specialist subjects would be – and you need more than one in case you get to further rounds – The life and times of David Bowie, the life and times of David Niven, Hill Street Blues and Doctor Who.

If I wanted to pretend I was more intellectual I might even choose the works of J.R.R Tolkien.

Well? I ain’t all dumb you know!

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Posted by on October 9, 2018. Filed under COMMENTARY/OPINION. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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6 Responses to An Englishman Observes the Dumbing Down of Britain

  1. Michael John Scott Reply

    October 9, 2018 at 11:17 am

    It’s not just happening in Britain.

    • Neil Bamforth Reply

      October 9, 2018 at 11:27 am

      Yeah I noticed! 😀…el Trumpo is about as dumbed down as you can get!!

      • Michael John Scott Reply

        October 9, 2018 at 1:05 pm

        Yes he is, and he’s the alleged leader of the Free World.

        • Neil Bamforth Reply

          October 9, 2018 at 2:38 pm

          Alleged is about right! 😂😂😂

  2. Ole Phat Stu Reply

    October 10, 2018 at 4:11 pm

    Mastermind was often just about remembering some (abstruse?) facts.
    Today people use search engines for doing that.

    Very little was concerned with logical thinking and making deductions 🙁

    I preferred Countdown, not only for ogling Carol Vordermann, but also for the mental arithmetic involved, and anagramming.

    • Neil Bamforth Reply

      October 11, 2018 at 4:11 pm

      Mmmmm…Carol Vordermann…😀

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